Most NBA executives and those involved in the game will agree that the worst position to be in as a franchise is a middle of the road team over the salary cap and a roster filled with veterans.
That is the NBA version of purgatory hypothetically.
The one NBA franchise that exemplifies this situation the most entering the 2018-19 season is the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons enter the season with the eighth highest payroll, at $125.7 million and $26 million over the salary cap and coming off of a season in which they finished 39-43 and 9th in the eastern conference.
They won’t experience much if any real relief next summer as well as they still have $104 million in committed salary for the 2019-2020 season at this point including $34.2 million to Blake Griffin, $27.1 million to Andre Drummond and $!8.1 million to Reggie Jackson.
They owe $140 million to Blake Griffin over the next four seasons as the injury plagued power forward enters his 30s.
Andre Drummond is their best asset as a 25-year-old all-star center, but with his inability to shoot the ball from any distance or protect the rim consistently, isn’t seen as the ideal NBA center in 2018.
Their worst contract may the remaining two years and $35.2 million that they over to starting point guard Reggie Jackson who has struggled mightily and dealt with multiple injuries over the past few seasons as he has lost some of his explosiveness that made him a good penetrator.
The Pistons went all in with their trade for Blake Griffin this past season and need to hope he and Drummond form the kind of duo that can become a top-tier team in the eastern conference over the next few seasons as they have little to no way to alter their core in any dramatic way.
Add in the fact that recent 1st round draft picks have failed to pan out thus far, including Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard, and you have a franchise with little talented youth to build around and an aging core that doesn’t seem to fit in the current state of the NBA.
That being said, the Pistons could take advantage of a weakened eastern conference and make only their second playoff appearance in the past nine seasons.